6 Fascinating Facts About State Birds

Discover interesting facts about noteworthy state birds. Learn about the fascinating stories behind these regional feathered symbols.

Male northern cardinal, state birdShutterstock / Danita Delimont
Male northern cardinal

Northern Cardinal is a Popular Pick

The northern cardinal gets top honors among state birds, representing seven states total: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. The Western meadowlark and mockingbird are also popular choices.

Take our state birds quiz to see how many you can name.

Hungry Gulls to the Rescue in Utah

Utah selected the California gull as its state bird after its heroic eating efforts in 1848, which saved many Mormon settlers from losing their crops to an insect plague.

Do you know the national flower, bird and tree of the United States?

boreal chickadeeCourtesy Daniel Lavorgna
Boreal chickadee

Maine’s Chickadee Confusion

Though Maine is home to two species of chickadee (the common black-capped and the elusive boreal), the state’s bird choice is officially listed as simply “the chickadee.” So Maine bird lovers can take their pick of these small songbirds.

You have to see these 20 incredibly cute chickadee photos!

Nene, state birdsWestend61/Getty Images
Nene

Hawaii’s Bird Gets a Boost

Good news! One state bird was able to move off the endangered species list. Hawaii’s nene population is recovering thanks to conservation efforts.

Discover 20 types of ducks to look for in across America.

common loonCourtesy Dana Nelson
Common loon

Standalone State Birds

Nineteen bird species represent only one state each, including the greater roadrunner (New Mexico), common loon (Minnesota) and brown pelican (Louisiana).

Find out which species is the most commonly seen bird in every state.

northern mockingbirdCourtesy Larry Chance
Mockingbirds are the choice of five southern states

The History of State Birds

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs gets credit for first launching the idea of adopting state birds during the 1920s.

Next, learn which brainy birds are America’s smartest bird species.

Molly Jasinski
Molly Jasinski is an editor, writer and social media manager for Birds & Blooms. She’s been with the magazine since 2019 and with Trusted Media Brands since 2012. She brings more than 10 years of editorial experience to Birds & Blooms and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. In her role, Molly works closely with bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman and gardening expert Melinda Myers, in addition to the Birds & Blooms freelance writers. Molly was featured in a May 2023 episode of The Thing With Feathers birdwatching podcast. She's a member of the nonprofit Friends of Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, a popular location for birdwatching in southeastern Wisconsin. She goes out birding often and is still hoping to spot a tufted titmouse in the near future.